Audio books! Publisher’s Weekly! Birdwatching!

A few weeks ago I got an email from my agent Rob, which ran something along the lines of “Hi Mike, Del Rey licensed the rights to audio books of Dark Run and Dark Sky from us, but they’ve never done anything with those rights. I’m thinking of trying to get them back and then sell them on somewhere else. Most places won’t buy audio rights after the book’s already out, but since the US launch is coming up in June we might be able to get someone to go for it with a view to tying in with that. What do you think?”

I mean, I had to consider this carefully. Should we try to get some money from someone for work I’d already done, with no more additional effort on my part than signing a couple of documents? It was a long and hard decision to take but after a couple of milliseconds I told Rob that actually this sounded like an excellent plan. Rob doesn’t hang about, so about a week or so later we had an agreement from Audible that they’d buy the audiobook rights to Dark Run.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with them Audible are Amazon’s audiobook wing, described as “the behemoth at the centre of the industry”. So I was pretty chuffed that they were taking Dark Run on. I don’t as yet have any details about a release date, but I suspect it will coincide closely with the US release of Dark Run.

AND SPEAKING OF WHICH (he says, segueing seamlessly into the next part of the blog), I have had a rather good Publisher’s Weekly review of Dark Run. Now, I’ll grant you that most of the review is spoilers, but the first sentence and the last sentence are such promising gems as “Brooks’s terrific debut demonstrates that a good caper tale can take place anywhere, even in interstellar space”, and “Fans of rip-roaring space adventures will greatly enjoy this one”. I feel like running around UK bookshops and sticking post-it notes reading ‘”[a] terrific debut” – Publisher’s Weekly’ to all the copies of Dark Run I can find. I can’t wait to hear what they think of Dark Sky, which most people tell me is even better (and I agree, actually – I enjoyed writing it even more, at any rate).

Finally, I spent the weekend just gone visiting Ipswich, the place of my birth. The traditional activity to do on a Saturday when I visit my mum is to head up the coast to RSPB Minsmere, the site of Springwatch. I have previously praised Winterwatch (and indirectly, Springwatch) here and I stand by my statements – it’s a bit crap, because it involves animals and live TV which is never a reliable combination, but it’s a good sort of crap. Springwatch is still a couple of months away though, so at the moment the reserve isn’t absolutely rammed to the gills with visitors.

Nor, sadly, was it rammed to the gills with birds.

It was a fairly chilly March Saturday, with occasional drizzle but mainly just a combination of sunshine and cloud, with a fairly bracing north-easterly wind. I’d have expected the scrape (a shallow lagoon separated from the North Sea by a sand-and-shingle beach to be packed with migrating waders, but there were only a few birds on it. We still saw several avocets, a stonechat on the beach, a marsh harrier over the reeds and five red deer on a hill, and it was a pleasant walk besides. Although not the best quality photo, this gives an impression of the majesty of the place, looking north over reed beds towards the Coastguard Cottages at Dunwich:

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